As Sam Sees It<br>
High school football play-off excitement has come to Winslow. The Bulldogs will face a tough challenge on Friday when they meet the defending Arizona State 3A Champion Blue Ridge Yellowjackets. The Yellowjackets defeated Payson 21-0 while the Bulldogs were downing Camp Verde 20-14. Winslow upset the Yellowjackets at home earlier in the season, but that 14-0 win means little or nothing now.
More play-off excitement is in the air just east of the Little Colorado. Joseph City has steamrolled over all class 1A competition and continues to do so in the play-offs. The Wildcats lost their season opener to 2A Mogollon in a close (20-14) game, but have put away their regional and conference opposition in decisive fashion. They have seen most of their games shortened to three quarters or less by the mercy rule. The Wildcats rack up 42 point wins with alarming (to their potential opponents) regularity. If the Wildcats won their play-off game this week as expected, they will be playing for the title this weekend.
Joseph City won its quarterfinal game 42-0 over the Ajo Red Raiders and was to meet once beaten St. David in the semi-finals on Saturday.
The Bulldogs will have to beat the Blue Ridge Yellowjackets again on Friday to get to the state championship game, a formidable, but doable task. To win that championship would likely mean beating the Snowflake Lobos, the team that gave them their only loss. Snowflake pummeled Window Rock 71-0 in their first round game. To get to Snowflake, Winslow will likely have to get by the Globe Tigers as well. Globe defeated Higley 46-7 in the first round. Again, this will not be easy, but it can be done.
Winslow will remain in the 3A North Region, but archrival Holbrook is going back to the 3A East Region. Some have expressed a desire that Winslow also return to the powerful East Region. In football, it would be more difficult to win in the East, but when we did the team would be better honed for the state competition. However, basketball is usually better in the North. Baseball and softball would face stiffer competition in the East, but due to the way teams from the North only meet once in the regular season and stage a tournament at the end those sports can actually face even better competition to prepare for state play-offs. There will be more non-conference games and those against better competition.
We are beginning to hear calls for Arizona Cardinals quarterback Jake Plummer to be discarded. The former golden boy who led the Arizona State Sun Devils to within an eye lash of a Rose Bowl victory and possible national championship has seen his magic touch lose its luster in the NFL. Fans who once called for keeping the Snake at any price are screaming for his hide.
The Cardinals are not a very good offensive football team and Plummer’s statistics would indicate he is part of the problem. Or is he?
Plummer came with the reputation as a scrambler. Most of his success with the Cardinals came from comeback wins engineered by a scrambling quarterback’s running as much as his passing. So, why does the coaching staff (regardless of which coaching staff) insist on making him a pocket passer?
The bigger question regarding Plummer is whether the team is going to design an offense that maximizes his strengths (as a running quarterback) and minimizes his weaknesses (as a pocket passer). If the Cardinals are not willing to commit to an offense that maximizes his strengths, perhaps there is no reason to keep Jake the Snake.